Chennai: The Madras High Court has stayed a decision of the MCI and the consequential order of the Puducherry government cancelling the admission of 778 students to MBBS courses in private colleges last year.
Justice K Ravichandrabaabu had on Monday passed the interim orders on two writ petitions covering around 108 students, who challenged the proceedings of Medical Council of India (MCI) and sought to quash the same.
In his order, the judge said, "Discharging these students from their course is undoubtedly a major penal action having drastic consequences on their academic carrier," he observed.
"Needless to say that having allowed the students to continue in the said course for one year, if these impugned orders are given effect to immediately, pending final decisions in these writ petitions it would certainly cause great prejudice and affect the interest of these petitioners, in the event of these petitioners success in these writ petitions later," he said.
However, the judge said, if these students are permitted to continue the course by granting an interim order and later if they fail to succeed in these writ petitions certainly they have to leave the college without seeking any equity.
"Considering all these facts and circumstances and upon hearing the senior counsels appearing for the petitioners this Court finds that the petitioners have made a prima facie case for the grant of interim order subject to the result of the writ petitions," he added.
The judge also directed the MCI and the Puducherry government to file a counter on or before 9 October and rejoinder by 23 October.
He then posted the matter to 23 October for final disposal.
In its 7 September letter, the MCI had directed the Puducherry Health Secretary and the Director of Health Services to discharge (remove from rolls of the institutions) students admitted without undergoing CENTAC counselling or after the last date for admission — 30 September 30, 2016 — and file a compliance report within two weeks.
The council had also said the directive was being given based on the findings of its monitoring sub-committee which went into a complaint by CENTAC Students Parents Association that had alleged gross irregularities in the admission process by the four deemed universities and three private colleges last year.
The committee had perused a 12 July letter of Puducherry lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi to the MCI on the matter and the report of chairperson of Permanent Admission Committee of the UT Justice Chitra Venkatraman.
Subsequently, out of the 778 affected students, 108 approached the high court seeking to quash the proceedings of the MCI and the Puducherry government order which is the subject matter.
The petitioners submitted that all these students were admitted to various private medical colleges and deemed universities in the Union Territory during the academic year 2016-17 well before the cutoff date of 30 September 2016.
They also said that all the admissions were approved by MCI by publishing the list of the admitted candidates on its website.
The petitioners' counsels also argued that the combined merit list procedure did not exist in the academic year 2016-17 and was introduced only in the present academic year 2017-18 and that too in pursuant to the Supreme Court directive.
If any action is to be taken, the students and the institutions in which they are continuing their studies ought to have been given an opportunity of hearing, the petitioners contended.
The judge further said, "It is seen that the MCI has proceeded to issue the above said communication after a period of one year even though the report of Permanent Admission Committee, Government of Puducherry said to have been given as early as 19 October 2016, as could be seen from the impugned proceedings of MCI dated 7 September 2017 itself," it noted.
More over both the proceedings would show that they were given without giving opportunity to the petitioners as well as to the respective institutions where the students are undergoing their courses.
"There shall be an order of interim stay on the proceedings," it held.
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Updated Date: Sep 19, 2017 21:32:07 IST